Summer School: Revitalisation and reclamation of Indigenous and minoritised languages

This year's Summer School is titled Revitalisation and reclamation of Indigenous and minoritised languages. It is a collaboration between MultiLing and UiT The Arctic University of Norway.

Summer school 2019 UiT


This course focuses on revitalisation and reclamation of Indigenous and minoritised languages from diverse theoretical perspectives. Participants will be presented with central theories and methodologies in the field and explore processes of language revitalisation across social scales, from international to community and individual levels. The role of scholars as advocates or activists in minoritised language settings will also be discussed.


The United Nations has declared 2019 the year of Indigenous Languages; meanwhile numerous communities still experience prejudice and pressure to abandon their heritage languages and are working to reclaim or revitalise these languages through their personal practices. Some regional minority and heritage language communities engage in similar struggles to establish recognition and resources for their minoritised languages. This PhD course will examine language revitalization and reclamation from different theoretical perspectives, including both Indigenous and other minoritised contexts, and bringing together young scholars and advocates from different parts of the world. The goal of the summer school is to introduce, discuss and evaluate central theories, concepts and methods in the field of language revitalisation and reclamation, with a particular emphasis on fieldwork based studies and the role of the researchers working in minoritised communities.

Indigenous and minoritised groups around the world have been disadvantaged through colonialism and other exploitative political processes, leading to  numerous social and psychological impacts, including language shift (Fishman, 1991; May, 2001). Minority or minoritised language is not used as a term based solely on the number of speakers, amount of territory, or frequency of use; rather, dominance or minority status is attributed on the social positioning of groups within a hierarchical social structure (Patrick, 2012). Thus, the concept of minority or minoritised language is an expression of relations among groups and not an inherent or essential quality of a language or group (Costa, De Korne, & Lane, 2017; Pietikainen, Huss, Laihiala-Kankainen, Aikio-Puoskari, & Lane, 2010).

The endangerment of Indigenous and minoritised languages has been analysed from a variety of theoretical perspectives, including sociolinguistics, language policy, anthropological linguistics, language socialization, applied linguistics and documentary linguistics. During the 1980s and 1990s indigenous histories of survival, struggle and renewal became widely visible (Clifford 2013), and linguists in particular began to pay more attention to the displacement that Indigenous communities had long been aware of (Hale et al., 1992). Scholarly attention to issues of language endangerment has continued to expand. As Hinton, Huss and Roche (2018) note in the recent Handbook of Language Revitalization, there are multiple terms for the range of efforts which aim to stop language shift, including language revitalization, reclamation, maintenance, revival, and reversing language shift. In this course we will consider the range of “activities designed not only to maintain but also to increase the presence of an endangered or dormant language in the speech community and/or the lives of individuals” (Hinton, Huss & Roche, 2018, p. xxvi), and examine some of the key theoretical approaches to understanding processes of language shift and revitalization. Political approaches to language revitalization (such as UN declarations), linguistic approaches (such as language documentation), applied linguistic or educational approaches (such as language teaching and learning) and sociolinguistic and anthropological approaches (such as identification, group belonging, negotiation of norms and the role of new speakers) will be considered and evaluated in relation to different socio-political contexts.

Additionally, the sometimes-fraught relationship between research and activism around Indigenous and minoritised languages will be explored (Davis, 2017; Hill, 2002; Moore, Pietikainen, & Blommaert, 2010; Stebbins, 2012).

Participants will gain an overview of the development of language revitalization as a field of enquiry, and will engage in discussion about how to move the field forward. Participants will be expected to complete readings prior to the course, and to participate with an individual presentation, peer feedback, and group discussions during the course.


Clifford, J. (2013). Returns. Becoming Indigenous in the Twenty-First Century. Cambridge, Mass,: Harvard University Press

Costa, J., De Korne, H., & Lane, P. (2017). Standardising Minority Languages: Reinventing Peripheral Languages in the 21st Century. In P. Lane, J. Costa, & H. De Korne (Eds.), Standardizing Minority Languages: Competing Ideologies of Authority and Authenticity in the Global Periphery (pp. 1–23). London & New York: Routledge.

Davis, J. L. (2017). Resisting rhetorics of language endangerment: Reclamation through Indigenous language survivance. Language Documentation and Description, 14, 37–58.

Fishman, J. (1991). Reversing language shift: Theoretical and empirical foundations of assistance to threatened languages. Bristol, UK: Multilingual Matters.

Hale, K., Krauss, M., Watahomigie, L. J., Yamamoto, A. Y., Craig, C., Jeanne, L. M., & England, N. C. (1992). Endangered Languages. Language, 68(1), 1–42.

Hill, J. H. (2002). “Expert Rhetorics” in Advocacy for Endangered Languages: Who Is Listening, and What Do They Hear? Journal of Linguistic Anthropology, 12(2), 119–133.

May, S. (2001). Language and minority rights: Ethnicity, nationalism and the politics of language. London, UK: Longman.

Moore, R., Pietikainen, S., & Blommaert, J. (2010). Counting the losses: Numbers as the language of language endangerment. Sociolinguistic Studies, 4(1), 1–26.

Patrick, D. (2012). Indigenous Contexts. In M. Martin-Jones, A. Blackledge, & A. Creese (Eds.), Handbook of Multilingualism (pp. 29–48). Abingdon, UK: Routledge.

Pietikainen, S., Huss, L., Laihiala-Kankainen, S., Aikio-Puoskari, U., & Lane, P. (2010). Regulating Multilingualism in the North Calotte: The Case of Kven, Meankieli and Sami Languages. Acta Borealia, 27(1), 1–23.

Stebbins, T. N. (2012). On Being a Linguist and Doing Linguistics : Negotiating Ideology through Performativity. Language Documentation and Conservation, 6, 292–317.


Please visit the UiT course page to see the program or download the preliminary program here

The final reading list is sent to participating students.


Leanne Hinton (University of California, Berkeley) (external link)

Hanna Outakoski (Umeå University) (external link)

Pia Lane (UiO)

Hilde Sollid (UiT) (external link)

Åse Mette Johansen (UiT) (external link)

Haley De Korne (UiO)


The participants must be enrolled in a PhD program in linguistics or a related field of study. There is no course fee, but participants will have to cover their own travel and accommodation expenses. If you are unsure whether your research would fit within the scope of the course, please contact the organizers to discuss.

Application procedure

Applications are now closed.

  • Choose UiT The Arctic University of Norway and create a profile
  • Choose to enroll in "Enkeltemner/Singular Courses PhD" 
  • Choose "Single PhD courses Autumn 2019"
  • The application code is 9302 in Søknadsweb (under “Choose application alternative”)
  • Remember to fill in course code “LIN-8010” under “Extra information”
  • Applications are now closed. 

  • Choose UiT The Arctic University of Norway and create a profile
  • Choose to enroll in "Enkeltemner/Singular Courses PhD" 
  • Choose "Single PhD courses Autumn 2019"
Early application is encouraged as applications will be considered on a first-come first-served basis. Participants who complete the course may recieve 5 ECTS credits.

All applicants are kindly asked to submit (together with their application):

  1. A 250-word description of the data and method(s) that they would like to present for discussion during the course. The students will be asked to give a short presentation introducing their study and a challenge they have encountered, and discussing it in the light of relevant publications on the reading list for the course.
  2.  A brief letter of recommendation from their supervisor indicating that the course is relevant for the applicant.
  3. Proof of enrollment/ status in a PhD program

Practical information


Several options are available through most of the regular hotel booking search engines. Notice however that the moderately sized Tromsø city will be quite busy during the week of the Summer School due to overlapping semester start in the University. We therefore recommend that you reserve your room in a hotel as soon as possible. In this list: Visit Tromsø you will find a wide range of accommodation options (only make sure you find something close to the town centre).

Some alternatives are:

  • Clarion Collection Hotel With is a central hotel on the harbor in the middle of the town. Breakfast, waffles in the afternoon, and a light evening meal are included.
  • Comfort Hotel Xpress Tromsø is a rather new and inexpensive hotel located downtown. Breakfast can be purchased from their lobby shop.
  • Thon Hotel Tromsø is also a very central hotel that offers breakfast.

Travel to Tromsø

By air

Tromsø is situated at about 70 degrees north, far above the Arctic Circle. There are several daily flights from Oslo to Tromsø. The flight time is 1 h. 50 min. Tromsø's airport code is TOS.

Major airlines connecting U.S./Canada and Norway are SAS, KLM, Lufthansa, Icelandair, Air France and Air Canada. From Europe, there are flights to Oslo from various airports including London, Manchester, Edinburgh, Munich, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Düsseldorf, Amsterdam, Brussels, Paris, Helsinki, Stockholm, Copenhagen, Reykjavik, Milan, Madrid, Prague, Riga, Warsaw, Budapest, and Vienna.

Tromsø International Airport is situated 5 km (1 km = 0.6 miles) from the town centre. There are flights from Tromsø to all major cities and towns in Norway, including Spitsbergen, as well as international flights according to season.

You can book domestic flights through the airlines Norwegian Air Shuttle (NAS) or Scandinavian Airlines (SAS).

NB: For transfers from abroad: Note that Norwegian is a "point to point" airline company and generally takes no responsibility for you to get on to your connecting flight. 

By bus

Express buses connect Tromsø with major cities in Northern Norway, especially Narvik (appr. 4 hrs). For schedules, check NorWay Bus Express

By train

There is no railway to Tromsø. If you would like to travel by train, you have to go from Sweden (Stockholm) to Narvik (23 hrs) in Northern Norway, and then by bus from Narvik to Tromsø (4 hrs).


Åse Mette Johansen (UiT), Haley De Korne (UiO), Pia Lane (UiO) and Hilde Sollid (UiT)
Published Apr. 10, 2019 3:47 PM - Last modified Mar. 17, 2020 2:31 PM